Monday, March 30, 2015

Early To Rise

Be sure to stop by the AccuQuilt Blog today, where I am the guest blogger and "dishing" all the details for the new pattern: "GO! Early to Rise Placemats"...these modern rooster and hen placemats are my most recent AccuQuilt pattern design. I always enjoy a creative challenge, so when AccuQuilt asked me to design a pattern featuring the GO! Folk Art Fowl die by Bill Kerr, I immediately started brainstorming ideas...and this set of GO! Early to Rise placemats was born. At first, I thought this die was quite limiting, but once you read my guest blog post, I think you will find it can be used for a plethora of projects - both for the beginner and the more advanced quilter/sewist.  With all the curves in the feathers, the rooster and the hen are the perfect shapes for fine-tuning your machine appliqué skills....and the look can easily go from "country" to "modern" to match your style. Oh...and did I mention you can download the pattern for FREE for a limited time...so go check out my guest blog post and download this fresh, new pattern...and be sure to share a photo of your new table setting with me!


GO! Folk Art Fowl die by Bill Kerr



...and here's today's reminder - pretty please vote for the block designs I entered in the 2015 AccuQuilt Quilt Block Design Contest - you are keeping all four of my blocks in the top 10 and I am so very grateful for your support! I feel extremely blessed and can't thank you enough....
The voting continues through April 19th  and I hope you will keep visiting and voting for my blocks - I have the chance to win some FABULOUS prizes if you keep my blocks at the top, so I appreciate every effort! Here are the links again - you can vote for all four of my blocks each day, along with any others you like - just click on each link and click on the word "VOTE" (you don't have to register or provide an e-mail address - it only takes a moment).... THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH!
In The Pink: http://bit.ly/1xmF620
Sequined Stars: http://bit.ly/1C7P1IE
Petal Piecing: http://bit.ly/1CFvLV8
Perpetual Pinwheels: http://bit.ly/1ATmFOz

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sunday Samplings

Happy weekend friends! It is a quiet Sunday and I am finishing up the piecing on four sampler quilts with music playing to lighten my mood. Schatzi and I just returned from a training walk at the lake and a visit to Starbucks...she was restless and I needed to get out of my studio and clear my head for a bit. The temperatures were in the mid-fifties this afternoon, but the wind was insane with 40-45 mph gusts...there were moments when I thought we were going to be blown away. This week has kept me busy working on some not-so-fun deadlines and juggling my schedule to fit everything in...I'm thrilled to almost be caught up with everything and I'm REALLY looking forward to working on a few projects that I personally enjoy and some sewing for my Etsy shop...plus some spring cleaning (I wish I could afford to take a few days off and just scrub away the winter months).

Here's a few photos of what's happening in my world...

Part of my prize package from Nancy Zieman's Pillow Challenge arrived...
a nice reference book and DVD...can't wait for the box from Pellon to show up on my doorstep...

Completed four GO! Hovering Hawks Blocks for four sampler quilts...finally
all 48 - 8" blocks are complete...it was a magical feat to fit these quilts into my schedule...

and after piecing hundreds of them, I am completely SICK of half square triangles (2" finished
square)...I can't wait to finish these four quilts and move on to 
something fun
(the 1st one of these quilts was enjoyable - these four, have been a challenge)...

Completed four GO! Flying X Blocks...

Completed four GO! Pinwheel Blocks...

Completed four GO! Mosaic 22 Blocks...
this block is probably my least favorite from the project...

Funny (true) story - my dear friend Mary called me yesterday and wanted to know if I
 had done anything for myself recently or taken some time for me...my response -
"I bought a new ironing board cover"...that got a good laugh...it's the little things...

A little personal stitching...Blackbird Designs monthly stockings...
two of the three for March done...and the third is started...

Simba waking up from a nap in Schatzi's bed today...he sleeps, I sew...

Miss Schatzi and I at Raccoon River Park this afternoon during a training walk...
I couldn't get her to look at the camera, but I did get a big kiss...

Thanks for visiting today - for now, I am back to work on the sampler quilts - the sooner I get all four of them done and off my plate, the better - I am ready for a fresh, new project!

....oohh...and one more thing...THANK YOU SO MUCH to everyone voting daily for the block designs I entered in the 2015 AccuQuilt Quilt Block Design Contest - you are keeping all four of my blocks in the top 10 and I am so very grateful for your support! I feel very blessed and can't thank you enough....
The voting continues through April 19th (I know the voting period lasts WAY TOO LONG) and I hope you will keep visiting and voting for my blocks - I have the chance to win some FABULOUS prizes, so I appreciate every effort! Here are the links again - you can vote for all four of my blocks each day, along with any others you like - just click on each link and click on the word "VOTE" (you don't have to register or provide an e-mail address - it only takes a moment)....
In The Pink: http://bit.ly/1xmF620
Sequined Stars: http://bit.ly/1C7P1IE
Petal Piecing: http://bit.ly/1CFvLV8
Perpetual Pinwheels: http://bit.ly/1ATmFOz

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Stitching, Sewing, and Schatzi

Two 18" pillows I recently completed for a dear friend...
I'm taking a break from my sewing machine to do a little blog update this afternoon....I've been at my machine most of the afternoon and I thought I would sit down for a virtual chat while I get a dose of caffeine and clear my head.

Last night, I finished a HUGE project for Just CrossStitch magazine that will be in the October issue...oh how I wish I could share it with you now, but you will have to be patient - it was A LOT of work, but so worth every minute...and I am just thrilled with how it turned out...

Have you been voting daily for my AccuQuilt Block Design Contest entries? - if you have, then I truly appreciate you! I know I ask for your votes every year...and for some reason, they make the voting process last a lifetime...but I want you to know that I am thankful for each and every vote. I hesitated to enter this year, after some of last year's results and the voting process - I know there was a lot of frustration across the board...but this year it is not just popular vote...and the block entries have to be made from AccuQuilt shapes (not just a fabric panel with a photo or a picture of a quilt)...this year, it seems much more fair and actually as described - a "block" design contest. They do have the direct view links working now, so I will provide them to make voting even easier. If you feel so inclined, you may bookmark them and vote daily through April 19th...every single vote helps - and THANK YOU!


Simply click on the direct links listed and click on the word "VOTE" - no registration is necessary and no e-mail address is collected. You can vote every 24-hours per device for all your favorites (meaning you can vote for all four of my blocks each day, along with any others you like)....

In The Pink: http://bit.ly/1xmF620
Sequined Stars: http://bit.ly/1C7P1IE
Petal Piecing: http://bit.ly/1CFvLV8
Perpetual Pinwheels: http://bit.ly/1ATmFOz

You can also visit: http://www.accuquilt.com/contest to submit your own block design and/or view all the entries!

So, today, I am back to working on four AccuQuilt GO! Value Die Sampler Quilts - I have most of the 48 sampler blocks complete and plan to have them all pieced by the end of the day...there are a total of 844 half square triangles (2" finished square) in four sampler quilts, so at this point, I really don't want to see triangles again for at least a few days. I cut all 1,384 pieces before starting, so now I am just putting everything together. I wanted to be done with all of them by now, but there are only so many hours in a day and matching up all the triangle points is taking me quite a bit of time. Maybe in the future I will do a block by block daily tutorial, including my tips and tricks - if you would like to see something like this, send me a message...if there is enough interest, I will see about putting something together.

GO! Simplicity Block Pattern

GO! Boat Block Pattern

GO! Whirlpool Block Pattern

GO! Double 4-Patch Block Pattern

GO! Road to Oklahoma Block Pattern

The original GO! Value Die Sampler Quilt I created....
I am now off for my daily training walk with Schatzi (my German Shepherd training partner) - temperatures are in the mid 40s and it has stopped raining, so it should be a nice evening walk - we will probably do around 6 miles. We have been doing some walks around the lake, but tonight, I think we will stay in the neighborhood...then it will be back to my sewing machine until 11:00 PM (I'm on a schedule and a deadline)...

Schatzi at Blue Heron Lake (Raccoon River Park) over the weekend...

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Saturday Samplings...

Happy weekend friends and followers! It has been a productive week in the Blue Ribbon Designs studio and I am running myself a bit ragged trying to finish up a few fast approaching deadlines. I have been having a "stitching marathon" each night...and designing, along with sewing/quilting during each day. My heart longs to be spring cleaning, but that will have to wait just a little while longer. The weather has been lovely and I am hoping that the winter months are behind us (fingers and toes crossed). I have been getting in daily training walks with Schatzi, preparing for the Komen 3-Day in November - we have been getting in 5 - 8 miles daily...it is truly amazing how a daily training walk can put things into perspective and keep me focused.

I have a few things to share today...
First...it's that time of year again friends - voting is live for the AccuQuilt Quilt Block Design Contest...and this year I have 4 blocks eligible for your votes (and I may work on a few more in the future, should time allow). So, once again, I am asking for your help. Please take a moment and vote for my quilt blocks - they have made the voting process much easier and better this year (no registration!). You can vote once daily for all your favorites...meaning, you can vote for each of my four blocks once a day (plus any other favorites you may have). 
  • Simply visit: http://www.accuquilt.com/contest
  • Click on "View Entries"
  • Find my blocks - the easiest way to do this is type "Belinda" in the search bar...OR you can scroll through the entries.
  • Click on the block - and then click on the word "VOTE".
  • You can leave comments, if you so choose.
  • You can vote once daily for all your favorites! Easy peasy.
Here are my entries for this year:


I really enjoyed working on my entries again this year...and they are all so very me...I love to combine piecing with appliqué.  I also like to design blocks that stand alone or work good in multiples or in combination with other blocks...and of course, I think about what would look good as a displayed quilt block. This year, entries must be made from AccuQuilt shapes, so I can actually quilt up each one...and if my blocks do well, I will share all the details with you on how to make them yourself (a tutorial or two may be in the future). I hope you will support my quilt blocks again this year and place your votes for my designs! You can also enter your own original quilt block designs by visiting: http://www.accuquilt.com/contest.

Next...I would like to thank everyone who voted for my pillows in Nancy Zieman's 2015 Pillow Challenge! My pillows received 1st, 3rd, and 16th place (not bad for over 220 entries and over 8,300 votes)...and I will receive some prizes for 1st and 3rd, so I truly appreciate your support and encouragement! For my 1st place pillow, I will receive a bundle of Pellon products (valued $115)...and for my 3rd place pillow, I will receive The Absolute Easiest Way to Sew book & DVD from Nancy’s Notions (valued $34.98)...plus a Pellon pillow insert with each. So thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart for voting for me! You can see the five winning pillow entries and the prizes for each by visiting:
http://www.nancyzieman.com/blog/sewing-2/pillow-challenge-winners/



I have been updating my website and Etsy shop this week, too! My website has new tabs and features...so please stop by and take a look (it is best viewed on a desktop/laptop or in landscape view on a tablet or mobile device)....and I am working on new cross stitch designs and sewing/quilting patterns to add in the future. My Etsy shop has springtime items and I will be adding more vintage needlework books very soon...

Finally, here are some photos from my week (you can see these and more by following me on Instagram)...





In am off to my sewing machine - it is going to get a workout today...so much piecing to do, so little time! I will, of course, get in a training walk this evening....then it will be another late night in my stitching nest. Wishing you a wonderful weekend, filled with all the activites you enjoy!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Awesome Blossom

In today's post, I want to quickly share with you my latest design for AccuQuilt - the GO! Awesome Blossom Wall Hanging. Oh how I love this design - partially because I have "spring fever", partially because of the bright and cheerful colors, and partially because I got to work with the GO! Flower Power die by Sarah Vedeler. For those of you unfamiliar with Sarah's work - she combines quilting and appliqué with machine embroidery - three of my favorite things (visit her website to see her AMAZING work). I have most of the cutting dies in her AccuQuilt Designer Collection and quite a few of her machine embroidery collections, as well - I am a fan - so to design a project using one of her specialty cutting dies was a treat!

Today, I am a guest blogger on the AccuQuilt Blog and I share all about this fun floral quilt design and some of my tips...so stop by to read my insights: http://www.accuquilt.com/blog/new-quilting-pattern-go-awesome-blossom-wall-hanging/

...and for a limited time, you can download the pattern for free from the AccuQuilt website - just visit:
http://www.accuquilt.com/go-awesome-blossom-wall-hanging-pattern.html




I hope you are starting to see some signs of spring in your area...it is a lovely evening here in Iowa. After a very frustrating day in my office (yep, we all have them once in a while - you know, where you feel like people are wasting your time and taking advantage of  you), I am getting away from my desk and computer and going for a long walk with Scahtzi to clear my head. I have been able to get in a 5+ mile training walk every day this week and it feels good!...and Miss Schatzi turns two-years-old tomorrow (can you believe it?)...

Before I go, I want to thank everyone who has been voting for my pillows in Nancy Zieman's 2015 Pillow Challenge - I truly appreciate you!! Voting ends tomorrow and at the moment, I am in 2nd and 5th place (there are sewing prizes for 1st - 5th). It's super easy to vote and you don't have to register or provide an e-mail address - simply visit: http://www.nancyzieman.com/blog/sewing-2/nancy-zieman-2015-pillow-challenge-voting-begins/ and click on the word "VOTE" above my pillow photos (the three shown in the image below)...that's it...so if you have a moment, please place a few votes for me (you can vote for up to 5 pillows). Thanks friends!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Nancy Zieman's Pillow Challenge Entries:
Please Vote For Me...

I'm sure most of my visitors are familiar with Nancy Zieman - she is the host and driving force behind the popular sewing program "Sewing With Nancy" (the longest running sewing program on North American television)...she is also an author, designer, and founder of  Nancy's Notions, a direct mail company specializing in sewing notions, supplies and accessories. I am one of the many that grew up watching Nancy on PBS, learning sewing skills and techniques from her extensive catalog of Sewing With Nancy programs...her books are in my collection...her catalog is one of my favorites...her sewing notions are in my studio...and her blog is in my daily reader...I am a fan!

Today, I am excited to share that I have entered three pillows in in Nancy Zieman's 2015 Pillow Challenge. A couple weeks ago, quilters and sewists were invited to participate in the pillow challenge by uploading photos and details on the Nancy Zieman Blog with a chance to win FABULOUS sewing and quilting prizes. 

I hope you will support my entries by voting...it only takes a second - you don't have to register - all you have to do is find my images and click on the word "VOTE" above each one - it is that easy - and you can cast FIVE votes! Here are the images of my entries:

Garden Girl

Bloomin' Beauty

Equilateral Elegance

There are MANY wonderful entries that deserve your votes, but I hope you will take a moment and vote for my three pillows...
Thank you so much for taking a few minutes to vote for my entries! While you are visiting the voting page, I am sure you will be inspired - there are over 200 images showcasing a wide variety of skills!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Blarney Baskets

I'm a little late with my February Bitty Blocks post...I actually finished up my February Bitty Blocks on Sunday, February 29th (yes, at the very last minute), but with all the excitement of the AccuQuilt GO! Big Blog Hop, I am just now getting around to sharing my Bitty Basket Blocks with you...

Just in case you missed my January post or are new to my blog...I am trying to do some fabric scrap "maintenance" by participating in Quiltmaker Magazine's Bitty Block program. On the first Monday of each month during 2015, Quiltmaker Magazine will post a Bitty Block on their blog Quilty Pleasures...the blocks will be approximately 3″ or 4″ square...and even better, this is a FREE project - you provide the materials, they provide the instructions. The plan is to make Bitty Blocks during the month and then sew them into a row....then the rows will be sewn together to create an unique throw-size sampler quilt made from bunches of Bitty Blocks. In typical Belinda fashion, I decided to make a miniature seasonal quilt each month with my bitty blocks to display in my cute little 12" quilt stand. In January, I used the 3" Bitty Bow Tie Blocks to make my "The Lovebirds" mini quilt...and in February, I used my 3" Bitty Basket Blocks to make my St. Patrick's Day mini quilt "Blarney Baskets".



If you are following along on the Quilt Pleasures blog, then you know, the February Bitty Block was a 4" Basket Block. Well, I had already worked out a plan for my miniature quilt and really wanted to use a 3" finished block, so I did some mathematical adjustments and made my blocks "itty bitty"! I used my AccuQuilt GO! Big Electric Fabric Cutter to cut 3 1/2" squares, then used the method shared on the Quilt Pleasures blog to make my teeny tiny half square triangle units - then trimmed each one to measure 1 1/4" square (yep, that means each unit has a finished size of only 3/4"). I also had to adjust the size of the other block components. Even though they are super tiny, I think my 3" finished basket blocks turned out SUPER CUTE! I then combined them with 3 1/2" (3" finished squares) to make my miniature quilt for the month...I even machine appliquéd a shamrock in each corner.





I now have my monthly miniature St. Patrick's Day quilt on display in my adorable 12" stand and it makes me happy!


Now it's time to focus on the March Bitty Block...which I am thrilled is a 3" House Block...how fun is that?! Later in the month, I will be back to show you my March mini quilt...my creative juices are already flowing...

Monday, March 2, 2015

GO! Big Blog Hop: In-an-afternoon Organizer

Hello everyone and welcome to the AccuQuilt GO! Big Blog Hop - I am so extremely excited to be one of the stops on this inspiring journey with a project tutorial at each destination!

If this is your fist time visiting my blog, let me introduce myself...my name is Belinda and I am a needlework and quilting designer, teacher, creator, and finisher - my company is called Blue Ribbon Designs. Working with a needle is truly my passion, obsession, and career. One of my favorite endeavors is designing and creating samples for AccuQuilt.

First, let me start by introducing you to the GO! Big Electric Fabric Cutter. The GO! Big is the latest and greatest addition to AccuQuilt's fabric cutter line...and did you see the keyword in it's name??...it is (drum roll) ELECTRIC...yep, that's right, no more cranking a handle - this electric fabric cutter does all the work for you! When I first saw the video for this spectacular fabric cutting machine, I nearly had to pick my jaw up off the floor...it is pretty impressive. Don't get me wrong, I adore my other three fabric cutters, but there is something special about this larger, faster, unique cutting system...I mean, who doesn't like to be on the "cutting edge"....


First of all, it is extremely simple to set-up, right out of the box....it is 23 pounds, which for me is easy to handle and easy to store...but you may wish to have it in a designated space...


ALL GO! Dies can be used in the GO! Big...and did I mention you can cut two 6” wide dies side by side at the same time?? In addition to the HUGE GO! die library, there are 5 NEW GO! Big dies that are used exclusively with the GO! Big... these die boards allow you to cut a whopping 12 ½” finished block with just one die (these five new dies include: GO! Big Square-10" (9 1/2" Finished)GO! Big Circle-4", 6", 7", 8"GO! Big Churn Dash-12" FinishedGO! Big Snail's Trail-12" Finished, and the GO! Big Double Wedding Ring-12 1/2"). I need to start saving my pennies, as all of the GO! Big dies are now on my wish list!




My project tutorial features the GO! Big Square-10" (9 1/2" Finished) cutting die...and the wonderful folks at Andover Fabrics provided inspiration in the form of fabrics from their Downton Abbey collections (Downton Abbey - Logos and Labels and gorgeous prints from Downton Abbey - The Downstairs Collection).  Once I knew my feature would be on the GO! Big Square and I saw the Downton Abbey fat quarters, I knew immediately what my project would be - a simple, yet useful wall organizer. Now, I know a square may seem a little bit boring compared to the other four new GO! Big dies...but is extremely versatile...and I think you will be quite amazed with what you can do with it...and I know I usually use bright and cheerful fabrics, but it was fun to step outside my box for this project...

Before I give you the instructions for the project, I thought I would show you just how simple it is to cut shapes perfectly and accurately with the GO! Big...here is a little video I shot in my studio...and what makes it most impressive - I shot this video with my smartphone, holding it in one hand while I cut a stack of GO! Big Squares (not a top quality video, but you get the idea)...that is just how easy it is to use the GO! Big...


Better yet, here is a quality video showing the AccuQuilt GO! Big Electric Fabric Cutter in action...


We've learned all sorts of details about the GO! Big, so let's get right into my project tutorial (I know it's what you have been waiting for)...click on any image(s) for an enlarged view...


In-an-afternoon Organizer
A project/tutorial designed especially for the GO! Big Electric Fabric Cutter
Finished Size:  10" x 25"

GO! DIES USED
FABRIC REQUIREMENTS

CUTTING DIRECTIONS

Kona Cotton by Robert Kaufman Fabrics - Natural:
  • Cut 2 - 10” x 25” rectangles
  • Cut 2 - 4½" (4" finished) squares
Assorted Downton Abbey fabric prints by Andover Fabrics:
  •  Cut 6 assorted - 10" (9½" finished) squares
Downton Abbey fabric print by Andover Fabrics:
  •  2" (1½" Finished) strips (or your favorite width for binding)
    • 5 strips if using a fat quarter
    • 2 WOF strips if using yardage
Fusible Fleece or Batting:
  • Cut 1—10” x 25” rectangle
  • Cut 6—10” x 5” rectangles (you can cut three 10" squares with the GO! Big Electric Fabric Cutter and then sub cut each in half)


SEWING DIRECTIONS

1.       Layer one 10” x 25” rectangle of fusible fleece (or batting) between two 10” x 25” rectangles of Kona Cotton Natural. Fuse or pin baste fabric sandwich. Quilt as desired (I used 2” cross hatches).


2.       Press all six 10” squares of Downton Abbey prints in half. Place one 10” x 5” rectangle of fusible fleece inside the fold of each pressed in half fabric square. Fuse or pin baste fabric sandwiches. Quilt or topstitch if desired (I did a topstitch ¼” from the fold). These will be your six pockets.


3.       Measure down 6” from the top of the 10” x 25” quilted rectangle (base) and place the long raw edge (not the fold) of one pocket rectangle.  Pin and sew in place using a ¼” seam.


4.       Fold pocket up towards the top of the base and press. Baste sides of the pocket in place using a ⅛” seam allowance (your binding will cover these stitches).

5.       Measure down 5½” from the bottom of the first pocket and place the long raw edge (not the fold) of one pocket rectangle.  Pin and sew in place using a ¼” seam.


6.       Fold pocket up towards the first pocket and press. Baste sides of the pocket in place using a ⅛” seam allowance (your binding will cover these stitches).

7.       Measure down 5½” from the bottom of the second pocket and place the long raw edge (not the fold) of one pocket rectangle.  Pin and sew in place using a ¼” seam.


8.       Fold pocket up towards the second pocket and press. Baste sides of the pocket in place using a ⅛” seam allowance (your binding will cover these stitches). OPTIONAL: After basting the sides of pocket three, stitch dividing lines to make this pocket have several sections - the model was divided into four pockets.


9.       Measure down 2¼” from the bottom of the third pocket and place the long raw edge (not the fold) of one pocket rectangle.  Pin and sew in place using a ¼” seam.


10.   Fold pocket up towards the third pocket and press. Baste sides of the pocket in place using a ⅛” seam allowance (your binding will cover these stitches).

11.   Measure down 2¼” from the bottom of the fourth pocket and place the long raw edge (not the fold) of one pocket rectangle.  Pin and sew in place using a ¼” seam.


12.   Fold pocket up towards the fourth pocket and press. Baste sides of the pocket in place using a ⅛” seam allowance (your binding will cover these stitches).

13.   Place the final pocket even with the bottom of the base, covering part of pocket five and baste in place using a ⅛” seam allowance (your binding will cover these stitches) on three sides, leaving top of pocket open.


14.  Fold one of the 4½" squares in half diagonally (forming a triangle) and press. Place the folded square in the top left corner on back of the organizer, matching raw edges with the edges of the organizer and baste in place using a ⅛” seam allowance (your binding will cover these stitches). Repeat with the other 4½" square, basting it in the top right corner on the back of the organizer. These corner triangles on the back of the organizer are "back pockets" for hanging. I inserted a wooden slat (9" x 1½" x ¼”) with a sawtooth hanger (easily made with supplies purchased at a hardware store). You may choose to make a traditional sleeve instead.



15.   Add binding, mitering corners.




Now you can fill your In-an-afternoon Organizer with your favorite sewing/quilting notions...or stationery...or scrapbooking/crafting supplies...or whatever your heart desires. How quick, easy, and fun was that?!



I hope this blog hop post will entice you make an In-an-afternoon Organizer (or two) of your very own...and if you do, please share a photo with me - I would love to see your interpretation!

I want to thank you for visiting my blog today - I hope you have enjoyed your stay....are you feeling inspired?? I sure hope so!...and this is just one stop...there are nine other stops on this AccuQuilt GO! Big Blog Hop - all guaranteed to give you fresh new ideas - I personally follow all of the blogs on this impressive list, they are all worth a visit...
Be sure to explore my blog to see many more AccuQuilt projects and finishes...and please stop back soon...